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ERC's secretary general, Marta Rovira, has told Swiss newspaper Le Temps (in French) about her reasons for going into exile in Switzerland and said that her last few months in Barcelona were very difficult.

"Whilst I was in Barcelona, I was living in an inner prison, I was constantly followed by police in the streets, I was the subject of pressure and threats, notably but not only from certain media outlets. I could no longer freely express my political opinions at the risk of being criminally, baselessly persecuted. It was very gruelling. My daughter suffered too, asking me every day to be careful when I went out. She was concerned for me wasn't fooled despite being so young. Today, I'm much more useful being free," she said (bold ours in all quotes).

Rovira says she knows that it might be a long time before she can return to Catalonia but that, once the school year is over, her husband and daughter will go to live with her. "I'm looking for work. I hope to rebuild my life here with my family and place myself under Switzerland's protection."

The politician doesn't evaluate internal Catalan politics during the interview, but says that "for the moment" she won't resign her role as ERC's second-in-command. "Knowing that the party's president [Oriol Junqueras] as well as several of our members are in prison, there would be a void if I were to retire now."

Rovira pointed out that, if she had remained in Catalonia, she would "be behind bars now". "I witnessed my colleague Oriol Junqueras's misfortune, who has been in prison for more than four months. All those who were summonsed at the same time as me by the Supreme Court in Madrid, on 23rd March, have been imprisoned. Look at Carme Forcadell, former speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Raül Romeva, former member of the government and Jordi Turull, conveniently incarcerated whilst he was candidate to the presidency of Catalonia."

According to Rovira, Spain is no longer a "real democracy" with the arrests of politicians, rappers, people "on Twitter who criticise the monarchy" or when it censors exhibitions like Arco.

Marta Rovira Le Temps

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